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Yeng says it’s time for Blatche to deliver

FOSHAN, China – Andray Blatche’s performance after two games in the FIBA World Cup left plenty to be desired but Gilas Pilipinas coach Yeng Guiao would rather not put the blame on his naturalized player.

Blatche has struggled since Group D action here began over the weekend, posting 10.0 points on 35 percent shooting with 7.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 2.0 steals while committing 5.5 turnovers during the lopsided defeats to Italy and Serbia.

Andray Blatche

ANDRAY Blatche

Against Serbia, Blatche was called for two early fouls and scored just five points on 2-of-10 shooting, much to the disappointment of blue-cladded Filipino fans who watched the game in this city and countless others back home.

“Of course, I’m disappointed,” Guiao said after Monday’s 126-67 loss at the Foshan International Sports and Cultural Center here.

Guiao added that Wednesday’s final Group D match against Angola and the classification round in Beijing is an opportunity for Blatche to atone for his miscues.

“But I don’t want this game or even the last game to get in the way of trying to play well in the next few games,” he said.

“So I’m sure Andray’s disappointed of himself, and it’s the best way for him to make up and for us to make up is to play well and try and win the next few games we will play.”

Guiao also noted how the lack of consistency from Blatche and the rest of the big guys like June Mar Fajardo in creating offense in the paint against the two European teams.

“I guess in this game and in the last game against Italy, June Mar showed some promise. When he gets the ball out in the low post, he’s able to deliver those points. But we need to deliver those points consistently, yung kanya in spurts lang,” he said.

“The problem with Andray also is we need him to do that for us. But it is also not happening, yung size niya. The reason why we chose a big man for our naturalized player is basically to give us inside presence. Again, that’s also not happening,” he added.

Blatche impressed in his first World Cup in Spain back in 2014, posting 21.2 points on 44 percent from the field with 13.8 rebounds in five games opposite Croatia, Greece, Argentina, Puerto Rico and Senegal.

He had 15 points and 10 rebounds against Italy but had nine of the Philippines’ 23 turnovers, prompting Blatche to publicly apologize through his Twitter account.